Wladimir Klitschko slams IBA ambassador Roy Jones Jr over links with Russia
Olympic boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko has criticised Roy Jones Jr for his links to Russia, challenging the American to pick a side amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The Atlanta 1996 super-heavyweight gold medallist used his acceptance speech for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame to call out Jones. "I am super happy to be able to address you all tonight," Klitschko said on a video message uploaded to Twitter, with the Ukrainian engaged in the defence of his country so unable to travel to the Hall of Fame in Canastota in New York State. "There is one person for whom I have a real question. "One person who broke Ukrainian law by going into the occupied peninsula of Crimea through Russian territory.
"On the side of the aggressor, or on the side of the defender of its right to live? "I respect you as a fighter but I really question your moral compass. Jones, who won a silver medal at Seoul 1988 after losing the final in one of the most contentious decisions in Olympic history, is a a regular attendee of International Boxing Association (IBA) events and has been an ambassador for the last two World Championships. Jones gave a musical performance at the IBA's Boxing Day celebrations on August 28 2021, which took place in Belgrade before it staged that year's Men's World Boxing Championships. As a professional, Jones won titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.
He became a Russian citizen in 2015 after holding talks with President Vladimir Putin in Crimea. The Crimean peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014, and Ukraine still considers it part of the country. The IBA is led by a Russian President, Umar Kremlev, but has barred Russian boxers from its events because of the war in Ukraine, following International Olympic Committee guidance. Wladimir Klitschko has been enlisted into the reserve ranks of the Ukrainian military, while his brother Vitaly is the current mayor of Ukraine's capital Kyiv. At least 4,339 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched a full-scale invasion on February 24, according to the United Nations, but it believes the true figure is considerably higher.
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